Alan Blum

27 dec alan blum sister

The Patient Voice

“My sister was havin’ too much stress on the job; and she got real sick, had to be put in the hospital.
And when she got home, she started tryin’ to stay well, even used that nicotine gum to stop smoking.
But when she went back, they called her in and told her she’s usin’ too much sick time…
and guess who started smokin’ again?”

 

“He doesn’t know anything now about the coins…
I give him his albums, and he go like this, page after page…after two minutes, he look up and stare.
He sit on the couch and he looks into the nothing…
so I took his hand and we both sat on the couch and we look at the nothing…
he remember nothing, his social security number he knew perfect,
now he forgets his name, his mother’s name.”

“Upstairs got robbed. See, she’s got diamonds on her fingers, cause this is her second marriage…
I’ll talk fast, cause I know you’re busy.”

boymothergrmma

Three generations

Alan Blum

About the artist: 

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his sketches have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“This was in a small room at a children’s hospital over twenty-five years ago. As with nearly all of my sketches, I made it on the spur of the moment–struck by the young patient, his mother and his grandmother huddled in silence, caring for one another. It’s my only drawing of three generations.“

Visuals editor:

Sara Kohrt

BLUM mombabe

The Mother and Babe

Alan Blum

About the artist: 

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his sketches have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“From my first year of medical school until the last day of my family-medicine residency, I kept a visual diary, filling numerous notebooks with clinical vignettes, stories patients shared with me, scraps of overheard dialogue and pasted-in sketches of my patients in ballpoint pen on index cards or prescription pads with pharmaceutical advertisements. This is one of the sketches from more than seventy binders I have filled throughout my career.”

Visuals editor:

Sara Kohrt

Blum Data Art

Data Art 2

Alan Blum

About the contributor:

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his sketches have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“For the past five years, on the first Thursday evening of each month, I have hosted an Art of Medicine Rounds for medical students, residents and faculty, at which I often distribute a story or poem from Pulse or else one of JAMA’s ‘Art and Medicine’ or ‘A Piece of My Mind’ essays.

“Above and beyond being a devoted reader of JAMA, I am especially drawn to the …

Data Art 2 Read More »

Data Art

 

Alan Blum

About the contributor: 

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his sketches have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“For the past five years, on the first Thursday evening of each month, I have hosted an Art of Medicine Rounds for medical students, residents and faculty, at which I often distribute a story or poem from Pulse or else one of JAMA’s ‘Art and Medicine’ or ‘A Piece of My Mind’ essays.

“Above and beyond being a devoted reader of JAMA, …

Data Art Read More »

Casa Juan Diego 2

Casa Juan Diego Portraits

 

 

Alan Blum

About the artist:

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his sketches have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

Alan Blum shared the experience of being in the clinic with his associate physician, Marsha Holleman. She had the following to say about that time and about his sketches.

“Casa Juan Diego is a Catholic Worker house of hospitality, serving new arrivals to the US and Houston, mostly from Latin America. Inspired by Dorothy …

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Bliss Lomotil blum

Repose

Alan Blum

About the artist: 

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“From my first year of medical school until the last day of my family medicine residency, I kept a visual diary, filling numerous notebooks with clinical vignettes, stories patients shared with me, scraps of overheard dialogue, and pasted-in sketches of my patients in ballpoint pen on index cards or prescription pads with pharmaceutical advertisements. I made this sketch on one of my visits to the patient’s home, where she had asked to be cared for instead of in the hospital. She died at age 72 less than six months after being diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma of the right lung that grew to occupy …

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banana peel blum

Banana Peel

Alan Blum

About the artist: 

Alan Blum is a professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

“Slip on a banana peelin’ —
They gave me these crutches.
Said I had to use ’em.
I don’t know why.
They’re dangerous things.”

Visuals editor:

Justin Sanders

long story - blum 2

Long Story

 

Alan Blum

About the artist: 

Alan Blum is a Professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in Family Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

Aw it’s a long story with me. Spent all my money on my wife when she died. 2 years cancer. Wasn’t able to do anything. Wasn’t able to save her. Spent all my money. All the money I had I spent on her.” Alan Blum recalls: “I vividly remember him, sitting on the edge of the bed at the hospital (when patients could stay there for weeks on end when they couldn’t be sent home alone). He was blind, and he listened faithfully to the radio all day long waiting to hear his name so he could call in and win the jackpot.”

Visuals editor:

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blum - grief and gratitude

Grief and Gratitude

Alan Blum

About the artist: 

Alan Blum is a Professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in Family Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his artworks have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. He is a frequent guest speaker at medical schools in courses in the humanities.

About the artwork:

This sketch in ballpoint pen on the back of a prescription pad is of a woman I helped care for more than twenty-five years ago. During her first visit to the family-practice clinic, I had listened to her poignant history and had left the room to let her prepare for the physical examination. She was sad but composed. When I returned, however, she was quietly sobbing. ‘Our son committed suicide three years ago,’ she said. ‘We had to file for bankruptcy. The only thing I’m really happy about is my husband stopped drinking and driving for a whole year.’ ”

Visuals editor:

Justin Sanders

Seeing Patients: The Sketchiest Details

Alan Blum


Editor’s Note: This week
Pulse is once again pleased to present sketches by Alan Blum, a family physician who’s been capturing his patients on paper, with grace and affection, for decades. These quick portraits are taken from a collection entitled Seeing Patients: The Sketchiest Details.

You say you think you got a medicine
to stop my seizures?
I don’t know why,
it’s the only exercise I get.

Well, it’s a long story with me.
Spent all my money on my wife
when she died.
Two years cancer.
Wasn’t able to do anything.
Wasn’t able to save her.
Spent all my money.
All the money I had saved
I spent on her.

You better just go ahead and do it now,’cause I am mentally prepared for y’all to kill me today.

Well, let me tell you a little story.
I had a little pain in my chest here.
I don’t know whether it was gas pain or not.
So the doctor took one of those electro things
with all the wires and he said,
“Well, it look good, but I need more tests.”

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